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Councillor cannot attend meetings without better disabled access to town hall

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 18, 2012

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FORMER Tewkesbury mayor Chuck Pavey has claimed he cannot attend council meetings in the town hall because of disabled access problems.

And he said the town council's plans to install a lift in the hall have stalled, leading to him lodging a formal complaint with the authority.

The 70-year-old town councillor, who was mayor between May last year and May this year, said he has missed a number of council meetings because he is disabled and no longer feels safe walking up and down the staircase in the town hall.

It has to be climbed by members, who hold formal meetings on the first floor of the High Street building.

He said: "The hand rail is 2ft high on the one side and non-existent on the other. It's a dangerous situation."

Mr Pavey gets about with the aid of a walking stick as he suffers from a degenerative spine condition and suffered a heart attack earlier this year.

With plans to install a costly lift in the hall being opposed by some councillors and members of the public, Mr Pavey feared he would not be able to attend future council meetings.

He believed he could fall over the edge of the hand rail if he tried to use the stairs.

"It's a ridiculous scenario and I'm entitled to complain," he added.

"It's not only me, there are lot of other people struggling to get up the stairs."

He said those opposed to the lift plan said it was the listed nature of the town hall that made it difficult to accommodate disabled access.

But he said they were wasting the time and effort he had put in, getting the borough council's conservation officer and English Heritage on board with the lift idea.

Town clerk Pauline Clarke said installing a lift was still planned as part of improvements to the town hall and meetings might temporarily be held on the ground floor to accommodate disabled people such as Mr Pavey.

She said members had agreed that people could ask for this to happen three days in advance of meetings.

In a letter to Mr Pavey, she said: "I trust this will go some way towards allaying your concerns and allowing you to continue to attend meetings."

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  • shiftyguyd  |  December 19 2012, 12:38PM

    People also need to consider the obvious, many of these buildings were built years ago, pre disability discrimination Act, with certain building, ie Listed and just old buildings, you simply can't just erect a lift. The law did give all interested parties 10 years to make the necessary changes, but again for some building locations, it is just not possible. The comments about moving it to an alternative venue is sensible.

    |   3
  • tewkman  |  December 18 2012, 7:05PM

    The best solution is to hold the meetings somewhere else and save us all some money. The council should be looking at ideas to regenerating the town and not wasting time and our money on stupid things like this. If he's been ill recently perhaps he should stand down and let some new blood take his place.

    |   11
  • SG1970  |  December 18 2012, 5:57PM

    It states in the article that meetings can held on the ground floor to accommodate those with disabilities, problem solved, without spending cash TBC hasn't got.

    |   7
  • Ysedra  |  December 18 2012, 12:15PM

    I know comments can take time to appear, but it must be five minutes at least since I posted. All I said was 'Agreed', because I agreed with the previous three comments. Is that not allowed? I'm almost sure that when I post this, my comment *will* be there, though...

  • Ysedra  |  December 18 2012, 12:05PM

    Agreed.

    |   3
  • Shireresident  |  December 18 2012, 11:52AM

    The lift should not be seen as purely for one persons' benefit. Future councillors may need to use it or disabled members of the public who wish to observe council meetings. In essence public buildings should be accessible to the public, simples.

    |   6
  • Douglasknows  |  December 18 2012, 11:43AM

    If the council wanted Mr Pavey to attend their meetings then they have two choices really. 1, install a very expensive lift for him or 2, hold the meetings on the ground floor.

    |   6
  • Shireresident  |  December 18 2012, 10:34AM

    Seems to me that disabled accesss should be a right not a concession that has to be requested.

    |   2

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